Belisama is a Celtic goddess worshipped in Gaul and Britain; she has been variously associated with river and sun, although neither is certain.
She was sometimes identified by the Romans with their goddess Minerva by way of the interpretatio romana, which could indicate a number of different associations including protection and victory in battle.
She was sometimes accompanied by the god Belenos; this combined with her name (which is similarly derived) may indicate that she has a solar aspect.
Belisama received votive and dedicatory offerings from her worshippers; apart from this, little is known of the specifics of her cult.
Belisama’s name may have derived from the Proto-Celtic *belo or “bright” and *samo or “summer.” Alternatively, it could be from the Indo-European *bhel or “force.”
Belisama is known from several archaeological sites in France as well as scattered place-names including a river in Lancashire in Britain. Although there are not a great many instances, the fact that they are not clustered together may indicate a breadth of worship.
In his Geographica (written around 150 CE), Ptolemy identified a British river mouth as “Belisama.” Modern scholars have potentially identified this river as the Ribble.
Saint-Lizier, France; Vaison, France.